NPR has a coffee club!
Maybe you knew that already, but I was shocked to discover it, since I listen to several of their podcasts and thought I was pretty familiar with them.
I’ve been trying and subsequently reviewing every coffee subscription service I come across, so I was glad to have an excuse to try them out.
Today, I’ll tell you all about my experience trying the NPR Coffee Club.
Signing up was super easy. Their website was simple, but easy to navigate.
The coffee that they’re selling is easy to find, and they make it very clear that the benefits of subscribing versus just buying individual coffee is free shipping and 5% off of all subscriptions.
There wasn’t a quiz or anything to determine your preferred coffee tastes; they simply just allow you to subscribe to your favorite coffee, in either whole bean or ground form.
You can choose to sign up for an ongoing subscription or gift a subscription. I went with an ongoing one, and then had to choose my delivery frequency, and my options were every 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks.
I love the names of their coffees! They’re all puns off of names of their podcasts and shows. ‘Brewline’ for ‘Throughline’, ‘It’s Bean a Minute’ for ‘It’s Been a Minute’, ‘All Beans Considered’ for ‘All Things Considered’ and – the one I went with – ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Wake Me’ instead of ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’.
In non-pandemic times, they also host coffee tastings and educational training sessions, at several in-person locations in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.
Packaging & Delivery
Delivery was timely, and there was no doubt about what it was when it arrived, as it came in a box with blue coloring and ‘Counter Coffee Culture’ written on the sides, so it was very noticeable in the mail.
With my first shipment of coffee, I also received what looked like a matchbox at first. I opened up to find an NPR coffee club pin, which I thought was a super nice touch! It’s a nice pin, and I will definitely be keeping it.
Like Klatch Coffee, NPR’s coffee doesn’t have any added flavors. The flavor notes they describe are naturally-occurring flavors that can be detected in the coffee.
Wait Wait… Don’t Wake Me
I was really excited to try my new coffee. I immediately opened the box and took out the coffee, only to read the label and immediately realize… I had gotten decaf coffee.
It was my own fault, really. I should have realized that a roast with ‘Don’t Wake Me’ in the name was a decaf roast, but I’d been reading the flavor notes when picking, and I’d been so entertained by the puns that I hadn’t really thought about it too much.
I still tried the coffee, of course. And it was good! If I hadn’t read the bag, I’d have had no idea that it was decaf. The bag states that the flavors are smooth, molasses, and cocoa, which is why I chose this bag to begin with – I’m one of those weirdos who loves molasses cookies.
The coffee was pretty fragrant, and the taste matched the scent pretty well. It was smooth, but it was also really bold. I did taste the molasses element, though I found the cocoa a bit harder to detect – I thought it had more of a chocolate aftertaste. Overall, it was definitely the best decaf coffee I’ve had (though to be fair, I haven’t had that much decaf coffee). I wish this roast came in a regularly-caffeinated version as well!
I figured that I couldn’t write a review based only on one decaf coffee that I tried from them, so I decided to order another. I went with ‘Cup First’, an organic roast that I made sure was fully caffeinated before buying. The bag states that it has tasting notes of nutty, sweet, and creamy.
The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t have a very strong smell, and that the scent it did have reminded me of the smell of diner coffee. I tasted it, and the flavor still reminded me of the coffee I used to drink in my favorite breakfast diner. It tasted similar, but better.
It did have a sweetness and nuttiness to it, but it was still slightly acidic in a way that wasn’t too overpowering, but rather pleasant instead. I couldn’t really detect any creaminess in flavor, but it was pretty smooth, so perhaps that is what they’re referencing there.
At the end of the day, the NPR Coffee Club isn’t quite up to level of their coffee subscription service competition (see my reviews for Atlas Coffee Club, Klatch Coffee, and Bean Box). There’s no quiz to tailor your coffee deliveries by taste, and there’s not even an option for them to send you a different coffee with each shipment – you have to manually log in and change which coffee you want delivered before they ship it out. If you don’t, they ship the same bag over and over again.
That said, I think that there’s still a solid market for them, which consists mainly of those listeners that also enjoy drinking consistently good, familiar-tasting coffee, perhaps while discussing current events. Which makes sense, considering that NPR is a news organization, and not a coffee company.
The coffee, after all, is tasty, and has a nostalgic, familiar feel to it. And I would absolutely love to attend one of their coffee tasting events once they open back up, if I ever happen to be in one of the hosting areas when one’s going on.
Their website does also have a blog on it, and – in my relatively objective opinion as a fellow coffee blogger – it’s super informative and really good!
Did you know about NPR’s Coffee Club? Have you tried it? Would you try it?
Tell me about your experiences and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below!